If you missed this month’s E-Log Shift series installment in the magazine — it ran last month here at the website — you can find it at this link. It detailed the experience of Epling Transportation-leased owner-operator Robert Whittington with a violation of the ELD mandate he was issued that was incorrect in a couple different ways.
There’s also evidence that some inspectors are incorrectly encoding no-ELD violations under one of those codes as well, which likewise contribute to CSA SMS metrics — though all but three are of a much lower severity weighting than the “no log book” 395.8(a) violation’s 5 weight. Here are the three that do carry a 5 weight: 395.15(a)(2) (driver not using the AOBRD installed/required by the carrier), 395.15(b) (information requirements for the onboard recording device not met), and 395.15(f) (driver failing to reconstruct/obtain log info in event of device failure). While there well could be plenty violations among the last of these in particular, given all the persnickety e-log-equipment issues we’ve been hearing about (stay tuned for further reporting on them) as well as the first (if drivers hadn’t gotten up to speed on AOBRD equipment their carriers put in without adequate training on ELD-Day One), there were very few ahead of December 18 under any of the 395.15 violation codes. As with 395.8(a) violations, recorded AOBRD-related-violation numbers shot up on December 18 and have continued somewhat elevated thereafter.
Travis Baskin, head of regulatory affairs for the KeepTruckin ELD provider, tells of a customer’s no-ELD-in-use violation that was coded under 395.15 early on in the mandate enforcement period post-December 18. (You may recall Baskin argued for further extension of the soft-enforcement period to June.)
His central message: DataQs alone may not be enough to get such improper coding resolved for carriers of all shapes and sizes.
He helped his customer file a DataQs challenge, but the local jurisdiction changed the violation coded not to 395.22(a) but to 395.8(a). “Then when I contacted the responding officer and the investigator,” says Baskin, “I was told that is how they’ve been doing it and their FMCSA trainer confirmed this was the proper procedure and code for no-device-installed violations.”
He then got in touch, ultimately, with the lead CVSA contact within the state’s department, who ultimately caused the issue to be resolved.
“It really illustrates how deep the problem runs,” Baskin says. “I keep thinking of how many owner-operators probably went through exactly what I did and maybe didn’t persist after being told by law enforcement they were wrong.”
Ultimately, if you’ve been marked with a violation of the ELD mandate because you didn’t have an ELD installed in the truck, and that violation shows up as anything other than 395.22(a), be persistent in your DataQs challenges. At this link, find a list of those lead agency contacts who will be most attuned to enforcement policy/procedure.